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Neither Imperialist Nor Nationalist

Reader comment on item: [Samuel Huntington and] American Purposes In Iraq

Submitted by Tim Starr (United States), Apr 27, 2004 at 16:09

Germany, Japan, and Italy are "democratic, capitalist, and under the rule of law," but would anyone describe them as having been remade in the American image? I wouldn't.

As presented, Huntington fails to accurately describe the proper argument for an active US foreign policy. The argument is that American democracy cannot be safe in a world with dictatorships capable of attacking the U.S., either directly or through proxies such as Al Qaeda. So, we must identify the most dangerous dictatorships in the world, prioritize them, and come up with policies for democratizing them.

This does not presume the universality of all American values. They don't have to like McDonalds, American pop culture, etc. They can be as welfare-statist as Sweden, or as free-market as Hong Kong. They can have establishment of religion, so long as it is combined with toleration of dissenters.

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